Chookooloonks (one of my favorite bloggers, by the way, do check her out) about feeling like she doesn't know what she's doing with her nearly-ten-years-old blog. It was one of those posts that's surreal to read because you feel like you could have written it yourself (or at least the same sentiment, even if the words wouldn't flow quite as smoothly). It's a feeling I've heard echoed by many long-time bloggers, an existential crisis many of us are wrestling with.
When I started blogging there was already a strong undercurrent of bloggers, but it was new enough that you still had to explain what a "weblog" was to most of the people you knew "in real life." I think most of us started our personal blogs as an experiment, sort of a "what the hell, why not?" moment. We didn't really expect anyone else to actually read our blogs, other than the friends we made on xanga or livejournal. There were no rules, you just wrote what you wanted.
Now it feels like all blogs need to have a Purpose and Direction, you gotta fit a Niche and think about your Audience and Stats and SEO Rank etc etc etc. Posts have to be a Cohesive Story with a Beginning, Middle, and End, and Convey a Message Of Some Type (they can't just be random ramblings, can they?). And it can feel like unless you've got a certain number of page hits, or monetizing with the right ads, or attend the conferences, etc, you're somehow doing it wrong. It's this weird pressure that can be stifling, and I think is one reason why many blogs have faded away over the years.
I don't want to imply anything negative about the way blogging has exploded and how many people are able to make some money, or even make a decent living, off their blogs. Honestly, I think that's pretty damn awesome. But I think that amid all the Big Name Bloggers, and the conferences, and the sponsored posts, and the bazillion articles on How To Blog Right And Stuff, there are many of us sitting just quietly in our little spaces, sharing and connecting, and trying not to feel like maybe we're part of a dying breed.
I've gone through those weird periods a few times. I start wondering about just stopping blogging, or moving on to something different (whatever that might be...?), or just questioning what and how I want to write to the point that it all feels silly. I find this usually happens when I start worrying too much abut what others want to read or what they might think (I'm especially prone to self-consciousness when I know a new friend is reading my blog), rather than focusing simply on what I want to write and share and record. Instead I try to keep in mind that spirit of blogging because, well, "why not?" And because, in the end, I just like it. I think that's the part that matters most.